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Murray Newsletter - June 3, 2009

Conestoga Destination Imagination Global Results

The three DI teams from Conestoga Elementary wish to thank the members of the community for their financial support at the plant Sale, garage sale & picnic supper. The teams had a wonderful time in Knoxville, Tennessee, thanks to the wonderful support given them.

On May 19th, the Destination Imagination Teams, along with twenty-five adults that escorted them, traveled to Knoxville to complete in the Global Finals competition.  The teams earned the right to complete by placing in the top 3 teams in the Nebraska finals in their challenge skills and levels.  It was a jam-packed 5 days of competition and fun with other students from around the world.  One of the favorite pastimes was "trading pins" with participants from other states and countries. 

There were 904 teams from around the world at the competition held on the University of Tennessee campus. Over 11,000 teams registered to compete in the Destination Imagination last fall. Mexico and China did not compete because of the swine flu scare.

Each team competed in their Central Challenge and an "Instant Challenge", which they had to solve in a limited amount of time.  Other events, such as the 'Duct Tape Ball', 'Chalk it Up' sidewalk art show, and 'Karaoke' through out the 5 days kept the teams busy.

The 'Twirly Tornados' 4th/5th grade team, competed in "A New Angle" Competition and finished 15th.  Team members are Josie Ritzman, Emily Bryant, Tayler Kendall, Taylor Holliman & Riley Weber.  Polly Costello coached their team.

Above, Above, coaches Jen Hoshor (left), and Linda Sparks, (front), take a 'breather' with their 4th and 5th grade team, the "Peg People'.   (photo contributed by Linda Sparks)

The 4th/5th grade team, 'The Peg People', competed in 'Elementary ViDIo Lit Hits' and finished 27th.  They chose a published piece of literature, the nursery story, Heggity Peggity and performed a skit using the literature.  Members are Sam Sparks, Stephanie Hoshor, Matt Morton, Zeke Rouse, Jaci Parriott, Whitney Todd and Mandi Jamison.  Coaches for the team are Linda Sparks and Jen Hoshor.

Making up the 6th grade team of the 'Meatloaf Blues' are Claire Moore, Makayla Parriott, Connor Parette, Jacob Sawyer, Jake Faris, Ellen Rice & Megan Jamison.  The team placed 37th in the Middle school level of 'ViDIo Lit hits' and used the poem, My Mother Made a Meatloaf, as their literature.  They were coached by Peggy Moore & James Parriott.

'Meatloaf Blues' Team, shown below:


One of the best highlights of the trip was the 'Spirit of DI' award given to the 'Peg People' and 'Meatloaf Blues' teams during the closing ceremonies. The award is given to teams that show exceptional spirit, teamwork, volunteerism and sportsmanship during the week.  The teams graciously allowed a group from another state to paint over "The Rock", a University of Tennessee tradition, after the Conestoga teams had spent hours on their creation, painting a large rock on campus (about the size of a small minivan) with the Red and White Nebraska 'N'.

Kids receiving their 'Spirit of DI' awards, below:


Photo contributed by Linda Sparks.

Don't forget the drawing for the two hog halves on June 8th!  Tickets are still available from any of the students, at the elementary school and Midwest Co-op in Nehawka.

Again, the DI Teams wish to send a big THANK YOU to everyone who helped to make this trip possible.  It couldn't have happened without your support!

Article compiled from contributors Susan Rice and Linda Sparks.


Nebraska American String Teachers Fiddle Tune Composition Contest

Entries for this year's Nebraska American String Teachers Fiddle Tune Composition Contest were received from Arkansas (Paragould), California (Los Angeles, Sausalito), Colorad(Westminster ), Illinois (Charleston), Kentucky (Lexington), Massachusetts (Lexington, Malden), Montana (Whitefish), Nebraska (Bellevue, Lincoln, Nehawka , Omaha, Seward), North Carolina (Vilas), Texas (Austin), and Canada (Halifax, Nova Scotia).

The results are as follows:

First Place: Shoestring Hornpipe, by Lin O'Brien, Lincoln, NE
Second Place: Pretty Little Girl, by Nissa de la Torre, Lincoln, NE
Tie for Third Place:
To Court the Fair Maiden, by Murray Therrell, Paragould, AR
Snow in the Trees: Kenny Blacklock, Sausalito, CA

The winning tunes will be printed in up-coming issues of Stringing Along, our Nebraska ASTA newletter. 
For more information about subscribing to Stringing Along, contact the Editor, Mindy Hunke at
For information on next year's Nebraska ASTA Fiddle Tune Composition Contest, contact

Nehawka Angels Tournament Baseball Team

The Nehawka Angels Baseball Tournament Team, (12 year-old, Class A), was one of eight teams in the Runza, 'School's Out Challenge 2009', a USSSA competition held over Memorial Day weekend and played at NP Dodge Park in Omaha. The final Championship game was held at the Council Bluffs Recreation Complex on Monday. 
Other teams vieing for the trophy included the Millard Bandits, Bellevue Braves, Millard Vipers, LaVista Panthers, Millard Lightning, Offutt Lightning and St. Pius Panthers.
The Angels started Saturday by winning their two pool games against Offutt Lightning and St. Pius handily, thus earning the number one seed for the single elimination tourney on Sunday. The Angels kept the bats and gloves steaming as they won the next three games to earn their first hardware of the year.  The championship game, tight at 4-1, was against a good Millard Vipers team. Great pitching and timely hitting put the Angels on top.  In the five games played, the Angels racked-up a total of 44 runs to the opposition's 3.


Nehawka Angels, above:
Back row, (From left), Coach Jeff Faris, Michael Hanssen, Neil Bock, Patrick Carlton, Connor Parette, Jacob Faris, Jake Gasparovich and Coach Dave Cornish.
Front row: (From left), Brook Fox, Lucas Minor, Mitch Faris, Christopher Cornish and Daniel Callahan.

The Nehawka team, coached by brothers, Jeff and Kirk Faris, and Dave Cornish is made-up of 11 and 12 year-old boys from Beaver Lake, Bellevue, Murray, Nehawka and Tecumseh.
Parents and Grandparents provided meals throughout the weekend in a picnic like atmosphere to make for a great weekend of baseball, fun, family and friends.
The Angels Tournament Team is headed to Ashland June 6-7 for another chance to compete. (See times in 'Latest Events' calendar, to the right.)


Missoula Children's Theater Auditions at the Lofte

The Lofte Community Theatre near Manley is proud to announce that for the fourth year in a row, they will be hosting the Missoula Children's Theater based out of Missoula, Montana.  The organization uses the performing arts to improve children's social and communication skills as well as create a strong work ethic and improve self-esteem.  Dozens of directors working in two-person teams will travel the country this year and in all, over 60,000 American kids will be able to take to the stage thanks to MCT.  This year, the Missoula Children's Theater will be coming to the Lofte in a little red truck full of props and costumes to perform, "The Pied Piper."

Auditions will be held at the Lofte at 10am on Monday, June 15th. They are open to all children who will be entering the first through the seventh grade.  The audition process will take two hours.  Parts available for approximately 70 children.  No advance preparation is necesary.  The children should be ready to smile, show energy and have a great time.

Rehearsals will take place for the entire week from 10am-2pm.  Although not all actors will be needed for each session, they should make sure they have a clear schedule for the entire week.  It is important that each child attends all rehearsals required of their role.  Parents should also plan on bringing a sack lunch for their child each day including audition day, June 15, as the first rehearsal will take place immediately following auditions.  There will be two public performances taking place at 3pm and 6pm on Saturday June 20th. 

The Home State Bank in Louisville is sponsoring MCT's entire summer residency tour to the Lofte.  Bank president John Plucknett along with his wife, Lynn will also be hosting the tour directors in their own home.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Plucknett are long-time supporters of the Missoula Children's Theater, having become familiar with it over twenty years ago at their home in Ogallala when their own children were young. 

For more information in regards to "The Pied Piper," Missoula Children's Theater, or the Lofte, please call (402) 234-2553 or visit the Lofte's website,

The Lofte Community Theatre is a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization supported in part by The Cooper Foundation, The Midlands Community Foundation, and the Cass County Visitors Promotion Committee.  The Lofte Community Theatre is dedicated to providing opportunities for area residents of all ages to participate in the creation process and companionship of live theatre in rural Nebraska and to enjoy the social, artistic, and educational benefits of this art form.

* * * * *

Please be advised that there was an error in the press release sent to you on 5/18/09.
Sunday matinees at the Lofte Community Theatre for "Over the Tavern," are at 2pm.
The earlier press release stated the performances were at 2:30pm.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Thank you.

Anne Pope
Director, Public Relations
Lofte Community Theatre

Finally, You Can Breathe in the Fresh Air........

On June 1st, 2009,  all indoor workspaces and public places, including restaurants, bars, and businesses, became smoke-free. The new law will, hopefully, protect both employees and customers from harmful effects of secondhand smoke.

For more information, please contact Sarpy/Cass Health Department at (402) 339-4334 or or visit

Fishing Buddies Program

Would you like to learn how to fish? Is there a child or adult that you would like to learn to fish with? Here is the perfect opportunity for people who want to learn to fish or who need to relearn the basics.

This 6 session program is designed for child and adult pairs who have little to no fishing experience and would like to learn to fish. Youth ages 6-12 years old are invited to develop fishing skills and knowledge with an adult mentor (limit of 2 kids per mentor/buddy).

The sessions will meet on Monday evenings from 6-8pm at the Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium for the first 3 meetings. The last 3 meetings will move to a local lake for on the water experience. Fishing hand-outs, bait and equipment will be available for participants to use during the program. Session dates are June 15, June 22, June 29, July 13, July 20, and July 27.

Pre-registration is required as well as a $20 check per child to reserve your spot. This check will be returned upon completion of the program. Spaces are limited and your registration must be received by June 8, 2009.

Fishing Buddies Registration

Adult Mentor
First & Last Name: _________________________________________________
Address: _________________________________________________________
Phone Number: ___________________________________________________
Email: ___________________________________________________________
Child Participant
First & Last Name: _________________________________________________
Address (if different from mentor): _____________________________________
Phone Number (if different from mentor): _______________________________
Age: _________
Child Participant
First & Last Name: _________________________________________________
Address (if different from mentor): _____________________________________
Phone Number (if different from mentor): _______________________________
Age: ________

Return this form by June 8, 2009 with a $20 deposit check (per child participant), payable to:
'Nebraska Game & Parks' and send to:
Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium
Attn: Andrea
21502 W. Hwy 31
Gretna, NE 68028

Invest Nebraska Corporation Awards

Invest Nebraska Corporation held two of five total regional New Venture Competitions in April and May. The Western Nebraska New Venture Competition took place in late April at the John Harms Advanced Technology Center on the Western Nebraska Community College Campus. Seven finalists were selected from 13 applications to present their business plans to the judges’ panel the day of the competition. Sarah Pinet of Victory Hill Farm was awarded the $25,000 equity investment prize. Victory Hill Farm, a goat dairy located outside of Scottsbluff, will specialize in producing various types of artisan goat cheeses. 

The Northeast Nebraska New Venture Competition was held May 1 at the Lifelong Learning Center on the Northeast Community College campus in Norfolk. Of 12 applications, six finalists were chosen to present to the judges’ panel. The mother/daughter team of Marilyn and Katy Wilson of Heady Bed LLC was awarded the $30,000 equity investment prize. Heady Bed custom manufactures upholstered head boards for all types of beds. Heady Bed’s interactive website will allow customers to choose the type of head board and fabric. The product will be manufactured in Wayne and shipped directly to the consumer.  View their website at

Sponsored by Invest Nebraska, the competitions are based on the Hormel Family Foundation’s Business Plan Competition in McCook. Invest Nebraska Corporation is funded in part by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.

Contact Dan Hoffman at or visit

Creighton IRM Celebrates First Anniversary

Creighton Intellectual Resources Management (IRM), formerly the Office of Technology of Transfer, got more than a new name 12 months ago. It also got a new mission in life.

Headed by IRM Director, Lee Fenicle, the primary focus of IRM remains the protection and promotion of Creighton’s intellectual property. It also continues to aid in the transfer of academic discoveries into the marketplace to benefit the university, companies and the community.

But in the past year, IRM has broadened its focus to build bridges to the business community by building strong, collaborative relationships. This not only bolsters Creighton, but promotes economic growth and development in the region and around the world.

Darrell Ullman, DED, credits IRM with helping DED drive economic development initiatives.

“IRM is really bringing Creighton into a broader range of activities beyond tech-transfer issues,” Ullman said.

Creighton IRM has broadened its focus beyond technology transfer and is working with a variety of business and government groups.

Look for Creighton IRM to continue helping turn scientific discoveries into products and jobs, while building bridges to the business community to promote economic growth regionally, nationally and around the globe.
Source: Brian E. Clark,The Blue Waters Group for Creighton IRM,

Nebraska Unemployment Rates Drop, 2nd Lowest Rate in U.S.

Nebraska’s unemployment rate dropped in April, from March’s 4.6% to 4.4%, resulting in the second-lowest jobless rate in the nation, behind only North Dakota at 4%. The national unemployment rate for April, however, rose from 8.5 to 8.9 percent. Michigan had the highest state unemployment rate at 12.9%.
The unemployment rate in the Lincoln Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Lancaster and Seward counties, dropped to 4.2% in April, down from 4.7% in March, while Omaha’s unemployment rate for April was 4.7%, down from 5.2% in March.
Visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Web site:



Nebraska Job Loss Rate Less Than Half the National Rate

Nationally, “Nonfarm payroll employment fell by 539,000 in April to 132.4 million….Since the recession began in December 2007, payroll employment has fallen by 5.7 million. In April, job losses continued in most major private-sector industries” (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2009)

Each month the U.S. Department of Labor reports on the job situation in the country. The quote above notes the high number of job losses in the U.S. during the first four months of 2009 compared to 2008. The graph below compares those rates for the U.S. and Nebraska.  It shows that although Nebraska’s losses have been significant, the state has had a job loss rate that is less than half the national rate. Although this recession is the worst in decades, Nebraska job losses continue to lag the severity of national trends. Many economists expect monthly job losses to continue through the rest of the year, so whether Nebraska is able to continue to resist national job loss trends remains to be seen.

Nebraska's Lake McConaughy Water Level Up to 50% Capacity

Reports indicate that the water level at Lake McConaughy in western Nebraska is five feet above the level recorded this time last year – its highest since 2003.  The news seems to indicate that Nebraska's largest reservoir is recovering from years-long drought in the region. Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District, which operates the lake, states the lake is at 50% capacity, which is good news for recreation interests and irrigators.

Nebraska Hosts Partners of the Americas Business Fellows

From March 30-May 30, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development hosted three private business representatives from Brazil.  Guests included Miguel Andrade, representing Transnordestina Railroad; Viviane Freitas, independent business consultant, and Robertta Mota, Commercial Manager with Tecbio, a biofuels technology company.  All three, from the coastal city of Fortaleza in northeast Brazil, came to Nebraska via participation in the Partners of the Americas-Business Fellows Program.  The Partners program has helped Nebraska establish a strategic commercial “pathway” to Brazil for the past two years.

Terry McAuliffe, DED International Business Consultant, serves as the coordinator and host of the business fellows exchange program in Nebraska. McAuliffe was initially contacted by the Nebraska Chapter of Partners of the Americas, and invited to participate in the Business Fellows Program, a new, innovative initiative sponsored by the National Partners of the Americas Office in Washington, D.C. 

“Involvement in this program has strongly reinforced Nebraska’s efforts to establish a network of critical business relationships across several Brazilian states," McAuliffe said. “Preceding any successful international business transaction is the establishment of sustainable personal relationships—especially those involving emerging market countries, such as Brazil. While it takes time to build such critical relationships, results are now beginning to emerge—such as those arising from this most recent exchange.” 

During the past two years, the Partners program has supported Nebraska’s efforts to aggressively market itself in Brazil as a new and unfamiliar, yet strategic Midwest commercial and cultural entry point to the U.S. market.  To date, the state has established relationships in the eight Brazilian states of Minas Gerais, Sao Paulo, Pernambuco, Espirito Santo, Ceara, Piaui, Mato Grosso do Sul, and Goias.

Because of its relationship with the Partners organization, Nebraska has directly and indirectly hosted more than 36 Brazil business leaders, introducing them for the first time to the cultural, governmental, educational and business climate of Nebraska and the U.S./Midwest.  McAuliffe is currently helping more than 20 Nebraska companies prepare for entry and growth in the Brazilian market.  

The Brazil business fellows were asked about their impressions of Nebraska and the U.S. market:

Miguel Andrade
His corporate host was Union Pacific Railroad in Omaha, where he was based.
“There are many things I like about Nebraska—certainly the business opportunity, but what most changed my mind was the people.Before my first trip, many Brazilians warned me to be cautious of Americans—that they can be very unfriendly.  But I found this to be totally wrong.  Beginning with my host Terry McAuliffe, Arnold Nesbitt and all the other Union Pacific employees, right up to the hotel employees I met this morning…everyone has been so friendly and helpful.  I’ve been very impressed and satisfied with my work and free time here.”
Note: This marks Andrade’s’ second trip to Nebraska, after having attended last September’s Reverse Trade Mission.  

Viviane Freitas
Her corporate host was Premium Protein Products-Lincoln.
Freitas indicated that Nebraska companies have a great opportunity to do business in Brazil due to its market size of 185 million consumers and how its buying power continues to grow as the country continually works to improve its way of life.
While here, she met with more than a dozen Nebraska companies, several related to the construction industry.  Because this industry is growing considerably in Brazil there should be great business opportunity, she said.

Robertta Mota
Mota was hosted by Husch Blackwell Sanders, LLP, in Omaha.
“Nebraska is in the middle of the evolving biofuels industry and there are many representatives in the supply chain with whom I am establishing relationships.  My purpose is to better understand all industry segments and new market potentials. Our technology can help integrate your well-established ethanol industry efforts with biodiesel efforts that are not so established yet. We feel we can help you with that."

Contact Terry McAuliffe at 800-426-6505, 402-471-3741 or

301 Centennial Mall South | P.O. Box 94666 | Lincoln, NE 68509-4666

Our Mission: To develop economic opportunities by keeping Nebraska businesses, communities and people competitive.

If appropriately credited, material in this newsletter may be reproduced without permission. It is the policy of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development not to discriminate on the basis of sex, disability, race, color, religion, marital status, age or national or ethnic origin.

Local Scout’s Eagle Project Improves Trails at Schramm Park

On Saturday, May 30th, 2009, 31 people helped build a new hiking trail during Jerry Heylmun’s Eagle Scout Project at Schramm Park.  The new trail needed to be made because the original trail was getting dangerously close to a ravine. The project also included the building and installation of three park benches and two barriers.  A shoveling crew loaded many, many wheelbarrows with rock, which the wheelbarrow crews hauled through the forest and dumped onto the trail.  An equally able-bodied raking crew then spread the rock.  A separate workforce installed the homemade benches and barriers.

Below, Jerry Heylmun


The project took a lot of planning and Mr. Tony Korth, Aksarben Aquarium Director and Park Manager, was extremely helpful. Generous donations of time and materials were received from Home Depot of Papillion, Impact Manufacturing, Inc. of Plattsmouth, the Nebraska Games and Parks Commission, and Mr. Tony Tellez of Union, a former Scoutmaster, who overheard the purchase of the barrier materials and offered to pay for them in support of the Eagle Scout program.  Monetary donations were also received from Jerry’s family members, his uncle Mr. Stephen Mattson of Rhode Island (a 1971 Eagle Scout recipient) and his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Mattson of Connecticut. In addition, Jerry donated personal funds he earned while refereeing soccer games in the community.







Boy Scouts who helped Jerry accomplish his project included David Clawson, David Jensen, Aaron King, Dalton King, Justin King, Ryan King, Mitch Kliegl, Connor Lepert, Bill Manning, Frank Manning, Lucas Minor, Ian Rouse, and Dalton Topliff.

Other friends and family who worked on Jerry’s project included Ken Bauer, Al Brunner, Jay Bryant, Penny Bryant, David Clawson, Patty Clawson, Bruce Heylmun, Carol Heylmun, Anita Jensen, Larry Jensen, Jeff King, Ricky King, Rose King, Tom Lepert, Sandy Manning, Gene Topliff, and Raymond Vacek.

Jerry would like to extend his thanks and appreciation to all of the volunteers who generously dedicated their time and effort to his Eagle Scout Project.


The finished product.....a beautiful, new hiking trail for all to use!

Let's Go Back in Time to.......

October 12, 1936
Plattsmouth Journal

President is Greeted on Entry into Nebraska

Five Thousand Here to Extend Welcome to President and Party as They Pass Thru This City

From Saturday's Daily:



Plattsmouth and Cass County this morning extended its enthusiastic greeting to President Franklin D. Roosevelt as his special train reached this city at 11:300 to be greeted by 5,000 residents of this community.

The president special was late in reaching here and the large crowd that filled the station platform and extended along the tracks faithfully kept waiting for a glimpse of the great man who for the past three years has served the nation as its chief executive.

The band under the leadership of Peter Gradoville, was stationed to the east of the station, striking up the notes of “Happy Days Are here Again” as the train pulled in, while the American Legion drum and bugle corps, under the direction of C. A. Marshall, rendered a colorful feature of the presidental welcome in their bright and flashy uniforms, they too being given a place of honor on the east of the tracks where they enjoyed a good view of the president and his party.

Meeting the presidential special were number of notable democratic leaders and state officials which included Senator E. R. Burke, Lieutenant Governor W. H. Jorgensen, Arthur Mullen, former national committeeman, Mrs. Evelyn Ryan of Grand Island, national committeewoman, Congressman H.C. Luckey and Mrs. Luckey of Lincoln, Congressman C. F. McLaughlin, of Omaha, Judge James C. Quigley, state chairman and daughter, Miss Mary Quigley of Valentine, Mrs. H. C. Ketchem, of Lincoln, G.F. Proudfit, treasurer of the democratic committee of Lincoln, Robert Flory of Albion, secretary of the state committee.

The roar of cheers grew as the train approached, the rear car of the train occupied by the president, being halted opposite the center of the station, where the cheering crowd awaited the appearance of the man they had come to greet.

The appearance of President Roosevelt was the occasion for the pent up enthusiasm of the crowd as they demonstrated their feeling in handclaps and cheers.  In response to the greeting the president gave a few words and presented Senator George w. Norris, who had joined the train at Afton, Iowa, as “the best part of Nebraska.”  The president also introduced Mrs. Roosevelt and Mrs. Gilbert M. Hitchcock to the audience.  One of the audience glimpsing Secretary Henry Wallace and shouted a greeting, to which was responded “this is the man who made our work possible,” as he laid his hand on the shoulder of the president.  “The next four years will be even better” was the cheering message of the president as the train was starting.

The president with the charm of his smile and the familiar tones of his voice made a deep impression on the audience that had often heard him over the radio but were glimpsing for the first time the leader of the nation.

The train from here traveled over the short line of the Burlington to Lincoln where the president spoke this afternoon from the state capitol.

Awaiting the coming of the presidential special, a loud speaker system with Robert Bestor as announcer, called on a number of the notables to respond with Governor Cochran, Lieutenant Governor  Jorgensen, Congressman Luckey and  McLaughlin, Mrs. Ryan, Mrs. Luckey giving brief responses.


Flowers Presented to Mrs. Roosevelt

Mrs. H. C. Luckey presented four bouquets of flowers to ladies on the presidential train here this morning.  A bouquet of gardenias was given to Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt by the ladies of the Lancaster County Woman's Democratic club.  Corsages of tea roses and baby breath were presented to Mrs. G. M. Hitchcock and to Mrs. James Roosevelt.  From Plattsmouth came a bouquet of the state flower, golden rod, and lavender wild asters.  They were sent by Misses Grace and Lou Vallery and were picked from their own garden.  Mrs. Lois Troop Bestor presented them to Mrs. Luckey.

Mrs. Roosevelt and Mrs. Hitchcock made brief appearances on the rear plattform.  Mrs. Roosevelt wore a grey suit and wine Colored flat crepe blouse.  Her accessories were black.  Mrs. Roosevelt will celebrate her birthday tomorrow.


and Now, Jump Ahead to Summer, 2009.......

Plattsmouth is the host of the Bright Dreams, Hard Times: America in the Thirties Chautauqua.  The event will be in Plattsmouth on June 24 – 28, 2009.  This five-day event features tent programs, history workshops, a traveling exhibition, and local history events that explore the hopes, dreams, and fears of Americans during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl years of the 1930s.  The Chautauqua tent and evening programs will be at Rhylander Park, 615 Lincoln Ave. All events are free and open to the public.

Chautauqua began in 1874 as a summer school for Sunday school teachers in Chautauqua, New York.  By the late 1800s Chautauqua had developed into a nationwide traveling educational and entertainment program, bringing the world to rural communities across the nation.  Programs of political oratory and lectures about health, science and the humanities combined with entertainment such as opera singers and stage performances of Shakespeare.  The modern-day Chautauqua differs from the original by featuring history professionals portraying famous figures from the past, rather than contemporary speakers.

The Bright Dreams, Hard Times: America in the Thirties Chautauqua features first-person portrayals of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Senator Huey Long of Louisiana, Pentecostal leader Aimee Semple McPherson, Harlem Renaissance writer and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston, and humorist Will Rogers each evening at 7:30 PM under the Chautauqua tent.  Following each presentation, the audience has an opportunity to ask questions of the famous historical figures as well as the scholar who created the portrayal.  Portraying these figures are Fred Krebs, as Huey Long, Wanda Schell as Zora Neale Hurston, Tonia Compton as Aimee Semple McPherson,  Doug Watson as Will Rogers and Patrick McGinnis as Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

In addition to evening tent programs, the Chautauqua features a variety of daytime programs for all ages.  Daily adult workshops offer an in-depth look at issues from the 1930s and examine their impact today.  The adult workshops will be held at Plattsmouth State Bank, 446 Main St.
Youth can engage in the history of the 1930s and their community through a variety of workshops, including the five-day Youth Chautauqua Day Camp, young people (grades 4-8) will be historians, researchers, and scriptwriters as they prepare to present their own historical characters on the Friday night of Chautauqua.  The Youth Chautauqua Day Camp is presented by Ride Into History, a historical performance troupe.  Contact Youth Coordinators, Cherie Larson, 350-0364 ( or Kay Shields, 235-2396 ( ) for registration information. The first 25 registered can attend the camp.

The Dust Bowl, a traveling photography exhibition from Humanities, Texas, will be on display in each community.  In the 1930s, Farm Security Administration (FSA) photographers captured the people and landscape of the Dust Bowl.  Forty years later, photographer Bill Ganzel located and re-photographed the survivors, combining his work with the FSA photos for a book and exhibition.   The exhibit will be on display June 25-28 in the Community Room, Plattsmouth State Bank.

Bright Dreams, Hard Times: America in the Thirties will travel to two Nebraska communities each year through 2010.  Broken Bow will also host the event this June.  The Chautauqua will also visit two Kansas communities each year.  For more than 20 years, the Nebraska Humanities Council has brought the traditions of the historic Chautauqua to towns and rural communities across the state. Beginning in 1983, NHC revived the Chautauqua movement, and over 50 communities have hosted the contemporary Chautauqua, playing host to the famous and infamous from American history.
The Kansas-Nebraska Chautauqua recreates the tent programs that traveled to Nebraska communities in the late 19th and early 20th century.

The Kansas-Nebraska Chautauqua offers opportunities for audiences to come together to deliberate on current issues through the historical lens of the Thirties. When the stock market crashed in 1929, America entered a decade of hard times. For many historians, the Thirties represent an era when Americans looked for ways to survive a national crisis, one characterized by extensive economic depression, devastating environmental disaster, and signs of worldwide political unrest.


“Bright Dreams,Hard Times”
America in the Thirties

June 24-28 • Plattsmouth, NE

Something for Everyone!

• Adult/Children Workshops
• Food/Music
• Historic Homes Tour
• Church Service
• Antique Machinery
• Quilt Show
• Will Rogers
• Franklin Delano Roosevelt
• Zora Neale Hurston
• Huey Long
• Aimee Semple McPherson

Tent shows nightly at Rhylander Park • 402-298-8209

Taking a step back in time to the 1930's, each evening, as historical figures -
FDR, Huey Long, Will Rogers, Aimee Semple McPherson and Zora Neale-Hurston will take the stage to share their bright dreams with the audience.

Also available: Youth Chautauqua Day Camp and performances; 1930’s
Live Radio Show; Dust Bowl Photography Exhibit; and much more!


Mon., Tues., June 22-23
1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Youth Chautauqua Camp, “Ride Into History,” Plattsmouth Public Library, 401 Ave. A. Participants: 4th – 8th graders. To register, call 235-2396 or 350-0364.

Wednesday, June 24

1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Youth Chautauqua Camp, “Ride Into History,” Plattsmouth Public Library, 401 Ave. A

6:00 p.m.
Plattsmouth Community Band Concert at Caboose Park, First & Main Street.

6:30 p.m. 
“FDR Returns to Plattsmouth.” Come meet the Chautauquans and see the re-enactment of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s visit to Plattsmouth in October, 1936. This will be followed by free watermelon feed, hosted by Plattsmouth Chamber of Commerce; Caboose Park, First & Main St.

Thursday, June 25

Daily – Self-guided walking tours of Plattsmouth; brochures at Cass County Museum, 646 Main Street

10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. 
“Dust Bowl” Exhibit, “Iconic Images” Photographs, Plattsmouth State Bank Community Room, 446 Main

10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
“Depression Era Quilt Show,”  Seams To Be Quilt Shoppe, 511 Main

10:30 a.m.  
Youth workshop, Wanda Schell, "How Butterflies Were Made,” Ages: Pre-school and Up, Plattsmouth Public Library, 401 Ave. A

12:00 noon - 4:00 p.m.
“History of Chautauqua and 1930s in Cass County” Special Displays at the Cass County Museum

1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Youth Chautauqua Camp,” Ride Into History,” Plattsmouth Public Library

1:00 p.m. 
Adult Workshop, Doug Watson, “Will Rogers: Film and American Society,” Plattsmouth State Bank Community Room

3 p.m.
Adult Workshop, Fred Krebs, “Huey Long and the State of Innovation.”  Plattsmouth State Bank Community Room

5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Food Concessions (Sponsored by Plattsmouth Rotary Club): Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Hot Dogs, Chips, Popcorn, Beverages.  Rhylander Park, 615 Lincoln Ave. ($)

6:00 p.m.
Local Entertainment: Dust Bowl Musicians, Chautauqua Tent: Rhylander Park

7:00 p.m.
Doug Watson as Will Rogers, Chautauqua Tent: Rhylander Park

7:30 p.m.
An evening with Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Patrick McGinnis), Chautauqua Tent: Rhylander Park

Friday, June 26

Daily – Self-guided walking tours of Plattsmouth; brochures at Cass County Museum, 646 Main Street

8 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Plattsmouth Community Center Open House for Chautauqua Visitors. Take an official tour of the facility and receive one free daily pass to use the fitness center and one free pass to the Twin River Water Park outdoor pool.

9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. 
“Dust Bowl” Exhibit, “Iconic Images” Photographs, Plattsmouth State Bank Community Room, 446 Main

10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
“Depression Era Quilt Show,” Seams To Be Quilt Shoppe, 511 Main

10:00 a.m.
Youth workshop, “Dear Eleanor, Dear Michelle,” Ages: 8 and up. Plattsmouth Public Library, 401 Ave. A

10:30 a.m.
Adult Workshop, Fred Krebs, “Crisis and the Role of the Demagogue,” Plattsmouth State Bank Community Room

12:00 p.m.
Lunch with the Scholars. Menu: Salad Luncheon; Plattsmouth Senior Nutritional Center in the Plattsmouth Community Center, 308 So. 18th St. ($)

12:00 noon - 4:00 p.m.
“History of Chautauqua and 1930s in Cass County” Special Displays at the Cass County Museum,

1:00-5:30 p.m.
Youth Chautauqua Camp, “Ride Into History,” Plattsmouth Public Library

1 p.m.
Adult Workshop, Patrick McGinnis, “What do Historians Say?” Plattsmouth State Bank Community Room

3 p.m.
Adult Workshop, Tonia Compton, “Radio in the Thirties,” Plattsmouth State Bank Community Room

5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Food Concessions (Sponsored by Plattsmouth Lions Club): Depression Burgers, Dust Bowl Dogs, Dream Cake, Hard Chips, Survival Coffee, Thirst-quenching Drinks, Rhylander Park, 615 Lincoln Ave. ($)

6:00 p.m.
“Ride Into History” Youth Chautauqua presentation, Chautauqua Tent, Rhylander Park

7 p.m.
“Flash Gordon”, 1930’s Radio Show, Chautauqua Tent, Rhylander Park

7:30 p.m.
An evening with Aimee Semple McPherson (Tonia Compton), Chautauqua Tent, Rhylander Park

Saturday, June 27

Daily, self-guided walking tours of Plattsmouth; brochures at Cass County Museum, 646 Main Street

8 a.m
Mayor’s Run, Start and Finish at Rhylander Park, 615 Lincoln Ave.
Five mile or two mile run/walk.
Race applications:

9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. 
“Dust Bowl” Exhibit, “Iconic Images” Photographs, “Dear Eleanor, Dear Michelle” Letters, Plattsmouth State Bank Community Room, 446 Main St.

9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Midwest Antique Tractor Club Show (Sponsored by the Plattsmouth Optimist Club), Richey Street on the east end of downtown Plattsmouth. Registration begins at 8 a.m.

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
“Depression Era Quilt Show,” Seams To Be Quilt Shoppe, 511 Main

10:30 a.m.
Adult workshop, Wanda Schell, “Go Gator and Muddy the Water,” Plattsmouth State Bank Community Room

12:00 noon - 4:00 p.m.
“History of Chautauqua and 1930s in Cass County” Special Displays at the Cass County Museum

12:00 noon - 5:00 p.m.
Midwest Antique Auto Club Pre-1940 Car Show in the downtown Main Street area.

12:00 noon – 5:00 p.m.
Historic Plattsmouth Homes Tour (Sponsored by the Plattsmouth Conservancy): Step back in time and visit these grand Victorian Queen Anne, Colonial Revival and Charming Bungalow homes. Tickets can be purchased at homes: 414 Ave. B: 520 Ave. F: 423 North 4th: 632 South 8th. ($)

1:00 p.m.
Adult workshop, Patrick McGinnis, “Agriculture Then and Now”, Plattsmouth State Bank Community Room

5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Food Concessions (Sponsored by the Knights of Columbus): Hobo Stew, Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Brownie Alamode, Drinks. Rhylander Park, 615 Lincoln Ave. ($)

6:30 p.m.
Local Entertainment:  Nebraska City Apple Corps Barbershop Chorus, Chautauqua Tent, Rhylander Park

7:30 p.m.
An evening with Zora Neale Hurston (Wanda Schell), Chautauqua Tent, Rhylander Park

Sunday, June 28

Daily – Self-guided walking tours of Plattsmouth; brochures at Cass County Museum, 646 Main Street

10:00 a.m.
Community-Wide Church Service, Worship music by the Dust Bowl Community Chorus Chautauqua Tent, Rhylander Park, 615 Lincoln Ave.

11:30 a.m. -1:00 p.m.
Old-Fashioned Fried Chicken Picnic at Golden Living Center (Plattsmouth Manor), 602 So. 18th St. ($)

1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. 
“Dust Bowl” Exhibit, “Iconic Images” Photographs, “Dear Eleanor, Dear Michelle” Letters, Plattsmouth State Bank Community Room, 446 Main

1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
“Depression Era Quilt Show,” Seams To Be Quilt Shoppe, 511 Main

1:00 p.m.
Adult workshop, Tonia Compton, “Floods, FEMA and the Faithful: Religious Organizations Relief Efforts in the Wake of Disasters,” Plattsmouth State Bank Community Room

3 p.m.
Adult workshop, Doug Watson, “Role of Political Satire and Commentary,” Plattsmouth State Bank Community Room

5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Food Concessions (Sponsored by the Plattsmouth Kiwanis Club): Hot Dogs, Popcorn, Ice Cream, Soft Drinks.  (Plattsmouth Boy Scouts Troop #399 selling bottled water.) Rhylander Park ($)

6:00 p.m.
Local entertainment, Terry and Jonathan Little, Chautauqua Tent, Rhylander Park

6:30 p.m.
Crowning of Miss Plattsmouth (Sponsored by Plattsmouth Chamber of Commerce). Chautauqua Tent, Rhylander Park

7:00 p.m.
Doug Watson as Will Rogers, Chautauqua Tent, Rhylander Park

7:30 p.m.
An evening with Huey Long (Fred Krebs), Chautauqua Tent, Rhylander Park


Chautauqua Event locations for 2009:
Broken Bow – June 17-21
Plattsmouth – June 24-28

More Information:  Visit or for a full schedule of events.

For a complete schedule of Chautauqua events, locations, and times, contact local coordinators or the Nebraska Humanities Council at (402) 474-2131 ext. 108, or the Kansas-Nebraska Chautauqua website at

Bright Dreams, Hard Times:  America in the Thirties Kansas-Nebraska ChautauquaFact Sheet
Contact: Beth McQueen, Project Director – Kansas-Nebraska Chautauqua, Nebraska Humanities Council, (402) 474-2131 ext. 108 or
Jeanene Wehrbein, Local Project Coordinator, 402-298-8209,

The Bright Dreams, Hard Times: America in the Thirties Chautauqua is a partnership between the Nebraska Humanities Council, Cass County Shallow River Society and the Kansas Humanities Council.  The Chautauqua is made possible by We the People, a grant initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities and funded, in part by Cass County Tourism.


Scenic Weeping Water Valley Association

Barb Slattery, owner of Slattery Vintage Estates near Nehawka recently announced the creation  of the Scenic Weeping Water Valley Association (SWVA).  This new association is comprised of several local businesses all working toward the common goal of promoting tourism to southern Cass County in the Weeping Water Valley area.  Other members include Tammy's Soap Shack and Creative Edge Graphics both of Weeping Water, Plantman Nursery of Nehawka, and the Lofte Community Theatre of Manley. 

With so many unique commercial, historical and cultural destinations, the southern area of Cass County can be an attractive area for day-trippers and visitors from surrounding states.  By combining their resources, members of the SWVA hope to use tourism brochures, print and radio advertising to pique visitors' interests.  In the future, the SWVA hopes to hold special events spotlighting the valley's products and services.   Already, this new non-profit group has received a marketing grant from the Cass County Visitor Promotion Committee.  Additional grants and sponsorships are being sought to advertise the area even more. 

The SWVA is currently seeking other members.  Businesses, historical societies and various points of interest in the Weeping Water Valley area are encouraged to contact Barb Slattery or other association members with their questions.  Contact information can be found on the SWVA's website,

The Scenic Weeping Water Valley Association (SWVA) is a 501(c)6 non-profit corporation supported in part by the Cass County Visitors Promotion Committee.  The SWVA is dedicated to promoting tourism to the southern Cass County, Weeping Water Valley area, mutually benefiting the surrounding commercial, historical, and cultural destinations.

8925 Adams St
Nehawka,  NE  68413
(402) 267-5267


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